lunes, 13 de marzo de 2017

Second Sunday of Lent

By: Rev. Fr. Rodrigue Azanmasso, CJM
Mt. 17:1-9

It is ten days since we entered Lent. Our journey towards Easter after Jesus Christ passes from one stage to another and it is always interesting to experience these different stages, that they may permeate our lives so that we may come out of Lent, renewed and resurrected Like Christ.

Brothers and sisters, 40 days of prayer, fasting, and struggle against sin will certainly not be enough to make us perfect beings; however, they will contribute, if they are well experienced, to perfect what has already begun, to redress what was twisting, to rekindle what was dying out.

After the episode of temptation in the desert, let Jesus take us, like Peter, James and John, let us follow him on the mountain to contemplate his glory. Like Peter, James and John, let us climb up the mountain, this high mountain, symbolic place that recalls the great encounters between God and his people. The mountain is the place of contemplation and silence. Jesus is waiting for us in this place. This place for us, here and now, is our heart, which is a lovely place of encounter between God and us. Let us recall what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John (4: 21-22) "Believe me woman; the time will come when people will not worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem... But, now is the time when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. These are the worshipers the Father is seeking, God is Spirit, and those who worship him must adore Him in spirit and in truth’’.

To allow ourselves to be taken by Jesus in this Lenten time, and to be able to experience with him this transfiguration, we must, like Abraham in the first reading of this Sunday, agree to experience important detachments. God said to Abraham, "Go out of your land, leave your family and your
father's house, and go to the land that I will show you ... and Abraham departed as the Lord had told him." Brothers and sisters, if we want the blessings of God to descend upon us abundantly like Abraham, it is important that we get rid of all those things that hinder our walk, all that weighs on us, all those things that seem to us Necessary but which are in reality handicaps for our improvement towards real humanization. Let us leave at the foot of this mountain our dreams of grandeur and glory, our prejudices, our ethnocentric or racial mentalities, our fanaticisms; our intolerance, our refusals to forgive, in short our refusal to undergo a true conversion. Brothers and sisters, it is only by making an effort to get rid slowly but surely of all these burdens that we can also, in this world, know the happiness which Pierre, James and John have tasted. Yes brothers and sisters, God already gives us a foretaste of heaven when here and now we make the effort with the help of His grace to conform to his will.

Beloved, the narrative of the transfiguration of Christ gives us a glimpse (beyond the person of Jesus Christ as human being) of who he truly is, that is the Son of God. It also raises the question of the mystery which surrounds every human person (every man is a sacred story). Like Jesus who reveals his divinity to us, every man possesses that side of mystery in which humanity and divinity meet to be one and Psalm 8 clearly says, "You created him a little less than a god, Crowning him with glory and honor ".

The question we can ask ourselves nowadays is: are we still able to catch a glimpse of the divine mystery in the face of man? Does human being still have value for us? How can we understand that people applaud and pray for someone's death?

We should not fight against men. Against whom should we fight then? Let us listen to what the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians (6: 12ff): "For we are not fighting against human beings but the wicked spiritual forces…the rulers authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. But how can we fight against invisible beings? St Paul goes on to say, "so put on God’s armor now. Stand ready with truth as a belt tight round your waist, with the righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good news of peace. At all times carry faith as a shield …and accept salvation as a helmet and the word of God as a sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer asking for God’s help… for this reason keep alert and never give up’’.

Brothers and sisters let Jesus come close to us, let us allow him to touch us so that he may raise us up at these times when our faith is under strain. As he said to his fearful disciples he is saying again to each of us: "Stand up do not be afraid."

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